Bon Dia, Lisboa!

Hello again!

So I have completed another voyage to a new country this past week, this time to Lisbon, Portugal! On Saturday the 11th, I flew to Lisboa and met up with Caity and her parents (her parents are traveling with her for two weeks now that the semester has finished, before she goes back to the States). After tracking down her parents hotel, the Fontecruz, and settling in, we set out in search of a place for dinner. Since the city is located along the Tagus River and so close to the ocean, sea food is a very extremely popular category on the menu.

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view from the plane window

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The Fontecruz aka the strangest hotel ever

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just your everyday hotel lobby decor

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mmmm dinner!

After dinner, Caity and I went to our hostel, conveniently located across the street from the Fontecruz, and retired for the night. The following morning, Sunday, was American Mother’s day! So after Caity and I started off our day by running across one of Lisbon’s main roads in our pajamas to take advantage of the hotel’s shower, we let Mrs. Dickson make up the schedule for the day! After attending Catholic mass in Portugese, we discovered Ginjinha! This sounds so bad, drinking after church, but hey, it’s Portugal! Ginjinha is one of the favored drinks in Portugal, a liquor made of sour cherries (ginja berries) and alcohol, resulting in the oh so lovely taste of cherry cough syrup. But on the plus side, its served in a chocolate cup!

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pinkies up!

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We had a mother’s day lunch with dishes of fish again, as well as Caipirinha, and then wandered around the Guggenheim Museum.

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mom and daughter on Mother’s Day, awww!

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On our way back to the hotel that evening, I stopped to take picture for my “Mother’s Day card” to my mom back in America, seeing as I sadly am not in the same country as her to celebrate. But don’t fret, I sent her a card for UK Mum’s day as well!

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After taking my picture, Caity and I walked into the hotel lobby, only to be shocked and extremely confused by the club scene before our eyes. After gapping and staring for a bit, we figured out that a music video was being filmed there, so of course we creepers watched the filming of it! Turns out the Portugese boy band is called Maxi, and their song was as catchy as it gets, and became our “anthem”, you could call it, of our trip, with us constantly singing the chorus (the only part that doesn’t involved Portugese words) and doing the dance moves the remainder of the trip!

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Monday morning Caity and I repeated our new routine of running across the street after rolling out of bed to shower, and then took a walking tour! Our tour guide, Hugo, started things off by having us all drink ginjinha and then eat the cherries at the bottom of the bottle… I’ll let you guess from the pictures how they tasted.

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yeah, not such a good flavor

After being guided around the tour for two and a half hours, Caity, myself and our sore feet made our way back to the hotel to meet Alex, who had flown in from Vienna that afternoon to join us for our remaining four days in Lisboa!

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After lunch, we hopped on the train, Cascais bound! Since Lisbon is on the river, we decided to head south of the city and go to the “ocean beach”.

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cascais gelato collage

After returning back to Lisbon when the sun went down and the beach got chilly, we stopped for some wine (so mature of me, right?).

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Tuesday, which I was really looking forward to, we went for a 7/8 hour day tour with We Hate Tourism! Tons of the kids at St. Louis University in Madrid took this tour and had only good things to say, and I would have to agree with that! So, if you ever find yourself in Portugal and want to take a tour, choose them! The tours take a maximum of 8 passengers out for a day the with a guide in a company van, but we got lucky and it was just the five of us and our guide, Tiago!

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Alex, Tiago, Caity and I infront of the van

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We started our morning off with a breakfast of lemon tea and the Portugese famous cheese pastries in Sintra!

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After fueling up for the day, we took off for Quinta da Regaleira, which is believed to be built with hidden symbols related to the Knights Templar, Rosicrucians, and Freemasons. Essentially, this place is the worlds biggest and best playground ever! There are tons of twisting trails, towers to climb, underground tunnels, secret doors, yeah, you could say we had fun there!

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the mansion/palace

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behind the waterfall in the hidden tunnel system!IMG_3727

secret doors!

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the Upside Down Tower from the top

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and from the bottom

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After spending some time running around and getting lost on the mansions property, we headed to Cabo da Roca, the westernmost point in all of continental Europe! Before land past Europe had been discovered, people believed that from this point you could see the end of the world, and if I didn’t know that America was out there, I would think that too!

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it was just a tiny bit windy

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and here is this trips Red Nose picture! Thanks for the flight, mom and dad!

After seeking refuge from the wind back in the van, we had our “picnic” lunch, consisting of bread, meat, cheese, chips, strawberries and red wine!

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After lunch, we headed back to Cascais for a break in the sun and, of course, gelato! This time, we went to Santini’s, a multi- award winning shop that has been around since 1949.

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my cone, green apple and lemon with rasberries

After a quick sugar boost, we loaded back into the van and drove to a huge monastery near the river. My favorite part of it all is that the monks have a pastry shop where they make and sell the well known Portugese pastry, pastel de nata. The recipe is top secret, to the extremity that the recipe is locked away at the Bank of Portugal and only three people know the recipe. But that’s not all- the three people that are in the know are the head chefs of the kitchen, and they each only know their portion of the recipe! Intense stuff, pastries!

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thousands of them are made each day!

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Tiago claims it is practically law that you must sprinkle cinnamon over them before eating

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Lisbon has the twin of the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as a scaled down replica of Christ the Redeemer like in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!

For dinner, we wandered over to Alfama in Lisbon and settled at a sea food restaurant for a crab dinner, with an appetizer of barnacles! New edition to my diet, but just a temporary one. Eating barnacles is essentially like eating a sponge that has been soaking in the ocean, but that’s just my opinion.

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Wednesday we rented a car for the day and road tripped up to Fatima and Obidos! In the town of Fatima is the Sanctuary of Fatima, where in 1917, an apparition of Mary, mother of Jesus, appeared on top of a small tree to three children and spoke to them, returning four other times, all on the *13th of the month. The Catholic search investigated the apparitions and confirmed them to be real, making Fatima a key place for anyone Catholic.

*on the 13th of each month there is a huge pilgrimage to Fatima, as she appeared on the 13th of each month , so we avoided going on that busy day

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a view of only half of the empty lot that is overflowing with people on the 13th of each month

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the candle vigil; along with lighting and melting candles, whatever your reason may be, people also put wax body parts, a leg for example, in prayer for the healing of that body part

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German designed crucifix

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the Basilica

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the oak tree where Mary appeared

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stall after stall of rosary beads, prayer cards, holy water and Mary figurines for sale

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keeping warm in the chilly wind

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I spy Pikachu amongst the crosses!

After leaving Fatima, we went to the castle village of Obidos, the ideal picturesque town!

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just Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus going for a casual ride on their moped

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Caity in a nutshell- petting cats and singing along to the Pokemon soundtrack

After getting back to Lisbon in the evening, we bailed on our original plans of going on a pub crawl, seeing as we were too lazy to get up (story of my life). As Caity put it, “I’m not going to find my husband out there, so why bother?”, so instead we stayed at the hotel and drank morangoska (strawberries and vodka). We’re party animals, I know.

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Thursday afternoon we sadly went our separate ways at the airport, myself back to London, Alex to Madrid and the Dicksons to Rome! But that wasn’t till after noon, so we spent the first half of our day on the tram, seeing the sights of Lisbon as well as the pick pocketers! Unfortunately I have no pictures since I opted for leaving my camera back at the hotel, and just taking some cash with me in my money belt. But even with that tucked under my shirt and jacket, it would not surprise me if it was possible for them to snatch that off of me. Bottom line, never be that dumb person that walks into a crowded area of public transportation with an open purse, I’m helping you out people!

Once back in London, I unpacked, repacked, took a brief nap and then headed back to the bus stop to catch my shuttle back to the airport for my next excursion, this time to Scotland! I’ll post about that soon, so keep an eye out for it!

Till next time,

Michelle xx

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